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Thanks for Submitting Your Résumé to This Black Hole (nytimes.com)
366 points by johnny313 on Mar 25, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 211 comments



Whenever this subject comes up, predictably the answer here is always Blah blah blah network network network. For a demographic always looking for the scalable solution to a problem, HN seems pretty attached to the least scalable option. The numbers just don't make sense to me.

Let's generously assume that you meet and have excellent working relationships with 100 people at each of the 4 jobs you've had. Of those 400 people, say, conservatively, 50% think so highly of you that they'd be willing to stick their neck out help you with your next job search. Out of those 200 people, 50% are no longer working for that company. Out of those 100 people, let's optimistically assume you actively kept in touch with all of them over the years. Now, maybe 50% are working for a company where you'd actually like to apply. Out of those 50 companies, 20% actually have a job opening that fits your background. Out of those 10, maybe 2 actually know and can put you in touch with the hiring manager for that opening. And your success chance through the interview pipeline has got to be worse than 50%.

Tweak my numbers up or down a little, but I think it's a pipe dream for most workers: You have to have an enormous address book full of high-power contacts in order to end up at the end of the funnel with one or two who are both willing and able to successfully help you get a job. And once you've exhausted that network (all it takes is to blow a few interviews), then what?


Meh...working in the opposite direction, I just took two companies that, off the top of my head, would seem like attractive places to work (Stripe and AirBnB). Both have listed openings of the somewhat rare position that I'd be looking for (Engineering Manager). I went to LinkedIn and searched for each company and looked at just recruiting profiles. I found 12 and 8 mutual contacts, respectively, that I could easily ask to pocket a referral bonus in exchange for forwarding my resume along with a small recommendation note.

Granted, I make the effort to network, especially with people who I have enough of a working relationship with that they'd recommend me. But it seems just based on my quick sanity check, that networking could easily work well enough to find a job should I decide I need one. And that's not even counting the 4-5 unsolicited contacts per month that come in from recruiters that I was referred to them by someone I know.

Sample size of 1 and perhaps I distinguish myself more than others, but I can say with certainty that the effort I've put into networking means I won't have problems getting an interview in the current market. If the market tanks, the story might be different.


What do you understand as "Engineering Manager"? In software an engineer that upgraded to managing other engineers seems to be common practice.


Yes, it's common practice. It's how I originally became a manager. That's why it's somewhat rare to see job openings for those management positions. Most companies would rather promote from within than hire an someone from outside the company. Managers are often most effective when the people being managed believe they understand the work being done intimately and the easiest way to show that is to have done that work prior to becoming a manager.

But management is also a discipline apart from the work being done by the team. I made a ton of mistakes early in my time as a manager. I was also fortunate enough to work for a company that had a management training program that was hugely helpful. And I'm also fortunate to have a parent that teaches interpersonal dynamics in a business school, so I've had a lot of exposure to the theory behind the practice. I feel this has made me a lot better manager now than I was when I first started, despite the fact that my actual abilities to write code have suffered somewhat from lack of practice.


Yeah, alright. That makes sense.


Dunno- I got my current job through exactly one connection. I wasn't even sure I wanted a job, at the time, but he kept pestering me to come in and interview, and eventually I did. I'm not unhappy about it- it's nice to have a paycheck.

But I think your math is off.


It is off because it assumes :

- you need powerful people

- you need to know people well

- you need to know them IRL

- you need to know them if they know you

- one person can only help you get a job at one place

- the person must be in your line of work

However my experience has been rather:

- anybody has the potential to bring you an opportunity. They have friends, family and colleagues, and they talk. My first internship was from the cousin of a friend of my mother needing somebody. 3 layers of indirection.

- superficial relationships (met once in a meetup, sport club, whatever) do carry opportunity. When people are looking for a worker, they prefer somebody they know, but will rarely find it and settle for anybody they can assess.

- IRC channels, forum and social networks are all doors to get jobs. Even MMORPG, MOBA or RTS. Actually they are filled with geeks, they all work in companies having some need for a recruitment or the other. And they are having fun with you.

- Even if you don't know somebody, if the person knows your work, it's a start. Github is a great personal showcase. I personally don't send my resume first, but my link to my stackoverflow account because it's quite famous in the Python community.

- people can talk about you to somebody working at another company who heard someone needed somebody, etc. Actually it often works that way: informal networking is the way humans connect the best. This is something I learned in Africa where it's the way of life, it's a lost art in our countries, were we do it reluctantly if we have no way around it.

- I'm currently working for a transport facility. Because my flat mate, not an IT person at all, works for one of their contractor, and he knows the project manager for one stuff where they needed something to be coded and he hooked us up. How ? We played laser tag 2 years ago, and so they know me and we just had diner to seal the deal. It's that stupid. And it worked. I delivered the software and they were happy.


You seem to be taking a somewhat minority position, based on replies.

I'm with you, but I think I see where others are coming from. I had job referrals before, and it can work. The dynamics of this are complicated, but the bottom line seems to be that networking works when it works, but not always or for everyone or in every job market. The reality is that lots of jobs get filled every day with a process very much like the one caricaturised in the piece.

Job-Worker matching as it's done today is haphazard, weird, biased... and almost certainly extremely inefficient.

But... I don't know that we have better examples matchmaking processes at scale. Do we? University selection? Dating? What's the scalable alternative?


Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it doesn't work. Surveys of people who got their last job show that many (most?) of them got it through a personal/professional connection. I think a lot of the replies here think I'm saying it doesn't work. It clearly does.

What I'm saying is that it doesn't seem reliable or scalable. Looking at my own network, the one's I've kept up with[1], which I think is pretty average, there are only a handful of people who actually work at a company I'd one day be interested in joining. I know I would easily exhaust the whole pool in a single job search (ask me how I know this). I'm not going to rely on that. To sum up the reliability aspect: I can't foresee a point in my career when I'll ever be able to say "I can rely entirely on my network for my next job search." If you can, congratulations, that's an enviable position.

To me, networking is like that great tool in your toolbox that _really works_ when it works. I think the network approach is most appropriate as a "fallback" when you are desperate for a job, would take anything, and can literally tap everyone you know in hopes of finding _something_.

1: That's another not-so-scalable aspect of networking: Maintenance. I would never out of the blue E-mail a former colleague with "Hey, I know I haven't talked to you even once in 20 years, but, HOW'S IT GOING?!? :) I noticed you work at a company I'm interested in [...]" Awkward! You have to actually keep up with everyone like you would a friend. I've seen people who can do it well, but jeez it must be positively exhausting staying in touch like that.


It is maybe a bit awkward, but I never begrudge anyone that does this with me. And over the years I've done it one or twice with people I haven't spoken to in many years.


> Let's generously assume that you meet and have excellent working relationships with 100 people at each of the 4 jobs you've had.

You need to realize that social life and networking goes well beyond your workplace.


This! Meetups, conferences, and social events are all great places to meet someone who might know someone who needs you skills.

Yes, the connection will be far weaker than any connection with a former colleague, but sometimes all you need is an inside connection to make your resume stand out just a bit more and to be that less of an unknown.

Weak connections actually being you into vastly different networks.


We must live vastly different lives. Otherwise, why would anyone want to spend their spare social time in job hunt mode? Sometimes I want to foster relationships I already have, not eternally be working on new ones.


Seems like the folks here go to conferences not to learn something, but to be part of a network and get a job; they go to programming/hacking/toying events or clubs not because they are interested in that hobby but to be part of a network and get a job; they call people to have news about them not because they like them but because they may use them later as a tool to get a job; they take part in open source projects despite having no problem to solve and no will to solve a user problem, but in order to build a portfolio and get a job. I find it very sad: always a main motivation which is job and money; no genuine interest in what they take part, not a bit of altruism either.


That's very cynical view of networking and I am very much offended by it.

I go to events and conferences because I am genuinely interested in them, I go there to listen to insightful presentations and talk to fellow programmers about interesting things, the motivation is never to "get a job later", that would be sick. The "networking effect" comes much later when you become close enough to naturally tap on them for job opportunities without feeling awkward or anything.

In other words, you don't go for conferences to find job opportunities, that's not the end, but the natural effect of knowing a lot of awesome people with the same interest as you.

Heck, I dare to go one step further to say that the purpose of a full-time job for me is just to meet more awesome programmers.


I feel you. In the last decade I have had to dial my outside tech/networking way back due to other obligations.

You can pick a few meetups (or even just one) to focus on, or you can be on the lookout when you meet casual acquaintances (perhaps at other social events).

I wouldn't want to spend all my social time in work hunting mode, but a small regular investment can pay dividends (depending on how happy you are in your current position).

Another reason to do such activities is the opportunity to help others. I love when I am talking to others and find out about a position that isn't a fit for me, but may be great for someone else I know. Hooking up two acquaintances in a possibly mutual beneficial way is low energy (not too much work) and yet high impact (people remember who helped them get a job).

I discovered this can be as easy as clicking"like" on a LinkedIn in post: http://www.mooreds.com/wordpress/archives/2180


It's not "job hunt mode", it's "face time mode". You want to be visible, and you want people to be aware of your capabilities. If you're accomplishing that in ways that don't cut into your other social activities, that sounds ideal.



TRUE: “Out-of-the-box hires rarely happen through LinkedIn applications. They happen when someone influential meets a really interesting person and says, ‘Let’s create a position for you.’”


> be willing to stick their neck out help you with your next job search.

It doesn't require you to risk anything to put in a referral. Maybe a referral + recommendation, but not just a referral.


> Whenever this subject comes up, predictably the answer here is always [...] network network network. [...] The numbers just don't make sense to me.

Yet networking, in one form or another, is how many if not most people land their jobs. Perhaps a poll is in order here?

I suspect your definition of what constitutes "a network" is what makes the odds you calculate look like a search for extraterrestrial intelligence. It's nothing like that.

If we did a poll right here, I would wager that more people got their current position through a third party lead or inside contact than through submission to an online job application.


Networking at work gets you promotions within a company. I've gotten two promotions and a 40% pay increase in the past three years, and I think a lot of it is from hanging out with people at work functions and talking to lots of people on slack.

The actual jobs I've gotten from networking were either family connections or people I met going to raves when I was younger, or people I talk to online about tech stuff.


I think you overestimate the investment required in a relationship to get a job. Meeting someone at an event and having a 10 minute conversation is often enough to bypass the job posting resume screen.


Wonder if there's also a technological new service that could change all this?


Have none of you people heard of linkedin?


Yes. I don't get why people hate on LinkedIn so much. Well I do get it, but the value of, as a friend put it, a Rolodex where someone else does the updating is tremendous when prospecting for a new job.


In my job search, I've been surprised by how often you submit a resume online, and then you don't even get a rejection email. It's a true "black hole" in that you never hear back, not even with a "no thanks". I think it's disrespectful of candidates to ask them to spend time filling out an application, and then leave them hanging because you're (presumably) too lazy to read it.


Insider perspective here: At a past employer, a Fortune 100 public company, the best roles were already slotted by senior execs for liked insiders and/or friends&family in the community. The job posting was just a formality, the end result was known well in advance of any job posting. Submissions to these job postings just languished because there was no one pressuring HR to sift through them, and it was well known inside that those positions were already filled.

From the outside, you just don't know. Very unfortunate because it creates hope for people who, in some cases, don't have any chance.


That's asinine. Because of some internal policy, you guarantee to waste people's time. It's already an asymmetric process, but behaviour like this makes it even more lopsided and plain wasteful.


You've hit the nail on the head. I appreciate the situation with companies. The "black hole" exists because they can't possibly deal humanly with every inquiry. To me, the question is: Why is the situation so asymmetric? Why is job hunting such a "seller's market?" Why do companies get hundreds, or thousands, of applications for one open position? It's like everyone who does similar work is continually submitting their application every time a position opens up within driving distance. If unemployment figures are as low as the government says, what's driving the deluge of applications? Is it simply "grass is greener" mentality?


Just to be pedantic, I would call it a "buyer's market" where the commodity is labor.

I think that the reason it is so asymmetric is because the normal company runs on multiple employees, which means that if they can't find one more person right now business still continues.

But the normal person only has time for one job, which means if they can't find one, they go hungry (so to speak).

The desire for employment is asymmetric and therefore the power accrues to the party with less desire.


>Why is the situation so asymmetric? Why is job hunting such a "seller's market?

Well the company can only accept 1 person for the position, whereas you are most likely willing to accept a position at a number of different companies, so there's an inherent asymmetry there, no?


You send out 100 applications to get a job, the company gets 100 applications per job. Where is the asymmetry?


It can become asymmetric based on how onerous the application process. Some tech companies have candidates do online exams, some even projects. The exam/project can take a day to complete. The company can just ignore the results for all but a handful of candidates...that is pretty asymmetric.

Ideally, the company should only push onerous application processes to applications once the list has been whittled down a bit, or only push them in cases where the results will actually be reviewed.


It's not just internal policy. There are various laws requiring public posting of positions in various circumstances.

Of course then not actually looking at the applications is a violation of at least the spirit of the law. Sometimes also the letter.


Or state policy lol. Or internal interpretation of state policy. lolwyers.


Not even that but I'm convinced some companies, like Twitter, have an automated rejection system. I remember submitted my resume online at like 3am PST and getting a response within minutes rejecting me saying I wasn't a good fit for the job (I met all qualifications). So, suspecting it was automated I waited a few days, completely changed up my resume and resubmitted it and it was rejected in less than a minute saying I wasn't the right fit for the job.

Resume submission systems are never good. Always always opt to send directly to a real email address (like in the who's hiring HN threads).


I applied once at an Indian/US firm from HN thread. You won't believe how unprofessional they were. I never got a single reply back until I emailed them, and I had a coding exam where I created an app, they said they'll reply in a week, after a month they said "sorry blah blah", that too, after two emails of mine aaking " you said a week, what is the status?".

Rather than going through this ordeal I'd prefer if they reject resume directly.


That's horrifying and worth posting on Glassdoor.


Yes, I was thinking of doing the same few days later. It wasn't surprising, their behavior, considering the feedabck on glassdoor.


Would they have criteria for specific schools or companies you were at? ...or is it years of experience or something?


I'm not sure. I've mentioned it a couple of times on HN to see if anyone from Twitter could confirm or deny my suspicious. It's possible someone just rejected it themselves but I'd really like to know.


It might be that the vacancies are just there to create the illusion of growth. Because if you're hiring then you're clearly growing. I recently interviewed with a company that straight-up told me that they don't have any positions right now but might in the future. That same position I was interviewed for got re-advertised a couple of months after my interview.

Come to think of it, I know of several examples(startups) where the company was actually failing and about to run out of money and they still advertised but couldn't possibly hire. In my opinion, that's purposefully wasting people's time.


I know examples from quite traditional companys, no-startups.

ANd yes, it is a huge waste of time.


I had one recruiter asking me for the exact dates of my past contracts, four times. It took a great deal of patience to repeatedly explain that they are already in the CV, just next to the company name and job title. In the end, I had to screenshot and red-circle the areas. That was the aha moment.

I'm not sure if this is laziness or what. But it does tell me that they don't care very much.


I'd have to really want a job or really need a job to put up with that sort of behavior. For all other situations I have close to a zero tolerance policy.


...Here's what the rest of us put up with that aren't in SW engineering/development/IT.

Step 1. Put in 300+ applications (200+ in Nor Cal Central Valley area, 178 in PHX area)

Step 2. Wait for responses and get a 2% response rate in Nor Cal/central valley, and a 17% response rate in PHX...with the exact same resume despite being top 25% of the class, extra curriculars, and having a decent econ degree)

Step 3. Of 90% of the places and recruiters that contact they will either A. Pay you substandard wages, B. Make it clear that you are replaceable and they don't actually care about workers or work/life balance, C. Ghost you after contacting and interviewing you or D. Some combo of the above.

The worst one I've had is the same corporate recruiter lie to me multiple times over a part time job with no benefits, who brought me in for an interview that made it clear that they had no quality control, no work life balance, poor workplace communication, and expected workers to be treated like crap and be OK with it, oh and the best part is, that company was a major household brand that does $5bn in revenue annually.

So yeah, I've had recruiters treat me like crap, tell me I'm worthless, and companies string me along, while I'm trying to scrape by and eat...not that I've got a chip on my shoulder about the entitled attitudes that are represented by this comment on HN.


If you're filing 300+ applications that would imply that you need a new job and not just want and/or are entertaining a new job, no?


I so you are very lucky. 99% of people have to put up with things like this without saying a thing.


Do you? I noted that if I really wanted or needed the job that I'd put up with it. Wouldn't that apply to everyone?

Suppose you're happy where you are now but an opportunity comes by which sounds good so you start talking to them. They're super flakey. Wouldn't you just say "screw it"?


For those type of scenarios I tell myself, "this is the HR department not the department I'm actually applying into." Keeps me from painting the good people who are competent with the same brush as the idiots from the department I'd actually have to deal with.


Well, good for you. The rest of us have to put up with it whether we like it or not.


Part of the reason is that rejected candidates tend to ask why they were rejected, which is a massive time sink. The logic goes that it's better to black hole than it is to be inundated with requests for reasons.


When recruiting, I chose to reject thousands of people.

For obvious rejections, I sent an auto generated email that looked like it could be from a human. If someone asked why they'd been rejected, I'd simply say the hiring manager chose to focus on more obvious matches for the position, and that was the end of it. Maybe 1 in 100 asked for feedback, but I didn't keep stats.

For a few candidates who were unlikely to be a fit, I'd reject them, and say why I didn't think it'd a match. Usually if I heard back, it was simply to say thank you for acknowledging them. For one position, I was recruiting a CTO. I rejected one Craigslist sourced applicant, and gave him reasons why he didn't fit the CEO's list of filtering bullet points. He responded with information that flipped him from a no to a yes, he got the interview, and eventually got the job!


I'm surprised that you posted a c-level position on Craigslist. I've always thought of cl jobs as entry to slightly above entry-level jobs. Did you get good candidates for the job from cl in general?


I was mostly focused on individual contributor roles for engineering and operations. I was filling the jobs so fast, there was a massive surplus of jobless talent sloshing around during the recession, that I was running out of stuff to positions to fill.

The CEO was kind of cheap, and didn't want to pay a retained search firm. I was working on a part time contract at an hourly rate, so he asked me to take a crack at the CTO position. I tried filling the CTO role like I filled every other role, by starting with an ad on Craigslist, and it worked out.


>For a few candidates who were unlikely to be a fit, I'd reject them, and say why I didn't think it'd a match.

I read that a lot of people don't do this because they are afraid of $RANDOM lawsuit.


So let's say you begin working with a hiring manager, and that manager says "I want a young, full stack developer who will work 70+ hours per week."

First, if you don't push back on "young", you're asking for trouble right from the start. You gotta say, "I can't screen based on age, that's going to get both of us in trouble." The second a not-too-bright recruiter says, "I can't hire you, you're too old", everyone loses. So don't get yourself into a position where you're screening for young in the first place. It's fair to ask the hiring manager why they want a young person, and it may simply be that the job isn't something anyone with real experience would tolerate. Then you can describe the job in such a way that it highlights the requirements for someone at that level... "We work hard, day and night, to ship stuff as fast as possible, fueled by Mountain Dew and dreams of glorious stock options."

Once you've craft a job pitch that only someone who wants to work day and night would apply to, if a more experienced person applies to the job, you can reject them by focusing on the culture... "Hey, I don't think you'd be a fit here. Your skills look great, we'd love to have you, but do you really wanna work 70 hours a week? We're an adrenaline fueled sweat shop, and you've been at a cushy B2B SaaS company for a few years. If I'm wrong, let me know!"


I always assume this is just an excuse - they don't give you a reason because there is no reason for them to give you a reason. If there was some benefit for them to giving you a reason they would not fear the lawsuits. Maybe some people from Europe can talk about whether companies give them reasons, I suspect even in Europe companies don't tell applicants why they didn't hire them.


If you're rejecting someone for because they'd never get the job, it's not worth explaining why. Reasons include the candidate wasting their time to impress you in a way they will never work, getting sucked into a sob story about how they really need a job, and the candidate starting an argument, etc.

Here's an extreme example. I rejected a candidate, and felt bad for him. I gave a specific reason why he'd never get the job. A few hours later, he showed up in the lobby of our office building, coked out of his mind (that's what it looked and felt like, but he was probably just intensely upset). He started demanding to see HR. Shit went from chill to super uncomfortable in 0 seconds flat. I walked up to him, suggested he leave, at which point he realized I'm twice his size, and he departed. Yikes!

I stopped giving invalid rejection explanations after that. It's just not worth it, and that's part of living in the world that sucks more than I'd like it to.


>I suspect even in Europe companies don't tell applicants why they didn't hire them.

They usually don't. The same reasons apply. In Europe there's less fear about random lawsuits, but there are so many rules about hiring that it's just a minefield with lots of material for very legitimate lawsuits. You didn't get the impression that the applicant is a good culture fit? You better hope his name didn't sound Turkish, or that quickly sounds like unlawful discrimination.


A clearly automatic rejection with some corporative language is not particularly nice or warm, but fulfills the role of notifying the rejection without any room for this time sinking demand.


Seriously. All it takes is a form letter, and then you know for certain.

Dear Applicant, We're sorry but we have decided not to go forward with your application at the present time. We will keep your CV on file for 6 months in case our needs change. Best of luck in your future endeavors.


No, it is a status and power play. People that apply are unworthy of a reply. You really want to be head hunted, or get a warm intro. I have personal experience being black holed when applying and hired when introduced, and know others for which the same has happened.


Yeah, god forbid corporations show some common courtsey lest it cost small amounts of money.


Unless your applicants become your prospects or customers. At that point, it's going to be incredibly hard to get over any negative sentiment. The hiring process is as much a communication and marketing process as anything else and needs to be treated as such.


I very much agree. A few years ago I was searching for a new job and there was this one place specifically that had an opening that sounded like a perfect fit for my skill set. They had an extremely long application process that involved "Pre-Employment Testing" (something called Criteria?). Anyway, I spent hours working on this application only to never hear back.

Funny enough, after landing an even better gig, I randomly got contacted by one of their recruiters on LinkedIn asking if I would be interested in the opportunity they were still hiring for. No mention of the fact that I had already applied and never heard back.


Samsung tried to hire me a couple times, but their side always went missing out of the blue.

One day I saw them complaining in a major magazine about not finding anyone, and I not only reapplied but wrote an almost angry email detailing past attempts.

They did their best this time, I talked to their team almost daily for almost 2 weeks setting all up... and then they complained I didn't had experience in that particular job title.

I explained that noone local had that experience, they were the first company in the country with that particular position open...

Then the HR guy apologized so much I felt sorry for him, and he explained it was company policy that the job required experience, and another policy required locals only...

So policy for the win?


Boy, Criteria looks...interesting. One of their first press releases: https://www.criteriacorp.com/company/news_item_3.php


Yeah, seriously, don't do that, unless you enjoy it. Almost certainly a waste of time.


I'm the total opposite. I absolutely hate rejection letters. They give me no upside feeling and they are all a downer. I'm applying to jobs because I sort of need one, not because I'm out to get social goodwill. This feeling of sinking "ugh" only worsens on days when I get 3 or more rejection letters.

If you do send a rejection letter, at least make sure it has proper grammar and spelling, and please send it within, idk, 6 months?

I have gotten some amazing rejection letters, but only after an interview. These are well-thought out, globally applicable to all rejections, and directly show why I wasn't a good fit. In sum, they were impossible to argue with. I've only received a handful of these, but they were worth keeping around for inspiration.


Where I work it is standard policy to send meaningful feedback after a face-to-face interview. We actively work to make this helpful.


I sympathize deeply with this sentiment.

However, let's switch modes.

Please suggest your solution for the problem of receiving 1,874 resumes for a job posting and, 42 days later, finding your likely candidate on the 244th candidate you reviewed.


Use an automated system to pick out keywords and phrases. Put first 25 in that stack aside. Send a rejection notice to everyone else. The issue is not finding a candidate, the issue is leaving everyone else hanging while you find that candidate.


What if my stack of 25 turn up only unqualifoed people who know to submit keyworded documents? Aren't we now un-rejecting people just like the linked article satirizes?

I feel like such an automated approach is roundly criticized by HN on a regular basis.

I guess my point is that when you're dealing with this, there are no popular solutions.

Un-networked job seekers need thick skin.


Once you find the 1-N candidates you were looking, you "close" the search, and the system sends an automatic reply to all the rest. Not very complicated.u


Agreed, thank you for clarifying that.


If the job is important simply task more people and resources to find a candidate. I feel like many companies hire "lazily" where they'll have one person peruse applicants over the course of weeks or months. This is completely disrespectful to candidates, many of whom are not in a position or circumstance to desire being unemployed for that long.

If the job is in fact unimportant, stop pretending like its the bloody presidency and accept candidates who can be trained into it immediately.


In my experience, it can be useful to include a request for (straightforward) additional information to be included with an application. I use a fizzbuzz style question that can be described in a couple sentences and solved by a competent programming in under 5 minutes. Anyone who doesn't include at least an attempt at an answer can be auto-screened. That usually cuts out the majority of applicants, since most are just shotgunning every available job.


Please suggest your solution...

This is completely unfair. GP is not an HR professional by any indication. If your accountant says your website looks ugly, do you hire them as your designer?


Lmfao dude, these days, if you want most people to take you seriously, you need to criticize AND suggest alternatives.

Anything else is just complaining.

I don't need to know the minutia of a specific field before I can criticize and suggest alternatives.

An accountant does not need to know node before offering comments on site usability, feel, performance. Nobody is hiring them to execute a redesign. They're asking them for an idea on how to improve.


So you have to be able to fix something before saying it sucks? You must be busy in the "Counterfeit items on Amazon" threads.


Hmm, no that's actually the opposite of what I was saying! The parent above me seems to have been saying that?


It's also unfair to criticize things as broken if no reasonable alternative exists. Should people get hate mail or get called "lazy" for failing to solve all of the world's problems?


Probably not. But, in practice, yes.


Don't post your job application to places that will get you 2k applications for a single position. Attach an automatedly tested small task to be submitted with any application.

When you get a successful candidate automatically inform everyone else still in the running that the position has been filled.

What's the hard part?


100%. The sooner you build a network and put yourself in a position to not have to apply to jobs the better.


How do you "build a network" at companies you have never worked before, and you have no contacts at? You start adding them to your linkedin and then spamming them with messages saying "please be my friend"? I am asking because I heard this recommendation (build a network) all the time, but it is really really difficult to do, more so if you consider the number of companies where one can apply...


You jest, but that method literally works. I'm trying to break into finance, from a programming, web-development kind of background (with CS degree), which is a pretty tough nut to crack.

I've had a great deal of success just reaching out to people on LinkedIn who've worked on cool stuff in areas I find interesting, message them to see if they're keen to meet for a coffee/beer/etc. Meetups are fun too. A good number of people are happy to just chat for 30min, and you might get a few pointers on where to look for what you want. The worst case outcome is that you meet someone new, and talk about things you find mutually interesting for a little while.


Yeah, "honey, this year don't count me in as I am going to be out all nights having drink with strangers so that i can build my network"... it reminds me of that day I dared to call a recruiter because his phone was listed on the job posting, he was like "wtf dude, why are you calling me?"


I sent dozens of applications to companies in my area while looking for summer employment, no success. Started going to meetups just to be able to talk to some programmers from time to time. About two months in, met someone at a meetup who said their team needed Python/C++ devs. I talked a little bit with them, got their card, sent them a resume later that week, and eventually got my first proper development job.

Only one person's story ofc, but I'm happy! Face to face stuff is so much more valuable than submitting online forms, and tech meetups are stimulating, fun, and pretty common in cities.


Nobody ever mentioned every night for a year. Can't you spare a single night every other week? You need to take the chip of your shoulder. It is hard work and takes sacrifice to move the needle, and that is true for most of us here.


maybe my target was wrong, but I wrote a nice/short introduction to about 200 recruiters on linkedin, only 3 replied... if recruiters, who should be looking out for candidates, reply so lowly, how many people do you have to contact? by the way, the 3 recruiters replied to me but they never again contacted me back...


My advice would be to never work with recruiters. Their goals aren't aligned with yours. Find the managers and directors at the companies you want to work for. Those are the people you want to talk with.


It won't allow you to "target" a specific company, but you could get involved in open source projects and technology meetups, these can help you make connections in a wide spread of companies.


You don't build a network at a company. You build a network in an area, perhaps more than one. You can be a complete idiot and still be well-known among local programmers (some of whom might not realize that you're dumb, and might hire you.) Imagine how far you might go if you're not dumb.


Honestly? Interview. A lot. I spent a couple of years interviewing in order to get better at interviewing (and always have my ear to the rail for better opportunities) and one of the side effects is that I met a lot of cool people doing interesting things. These people are absolutely a part of my network now, and I've referred at least one person to a job they got. It's a lot of work, but starting from zero, it is an excellent way to build a network, get good at interviewing, and most importantly, find a job you like that pays well.


Are there programming meetups where you live? If there aren't you need to move. If there are you need to go to every one. If you have something interesting to say you ought to volunteer to give a talk (I just gave one on Redux, despite the fact that I have a job.)

If you have nothing interesting to say you ought to find something- if you're unemployed you must have a lot of time on your hands.


You build a network by making friends where you are right now. In a few years they will leave your company / be out of college.

With luck, one of them will be in a company or organization you want to apply to.


This is true, but embedded within it contains a huge challenge for the industry. Hiring through people's networks and referrals has potential to really harm diversity.

Hiring is an expensive process by any measure. But whenever we find a shortcut we have to be mindful of unintended consequences


If you're filing the position with a high quality candidate, I'm not sure how diversity is relevant.


You might not be sure, but high quality candidates who aren't already in the heterogenous pool you are hiring from can probably come up with something.


I wonder how often the "We're Hiring" links on companies landing pages are there only to make the business look healthy and growing while in fact the company is not hiring.


Yes, and sometimes you can tell from a reference number that includes figures looking suspiciously like a year, that the "job offer" has been lying there for 3 or 4 years. You can see the dust layers on it.


Facebook "black holed" me after two phone interviews. Had to email them them a couple weeks later to see what was up. Never seen that before.

Edit: I guess "black holed" isn't the right term since I did get an interview but you know what I mean


I call it 'Ghosted'.

Basically, you are talking, you both like each other and then suddenly you don't hear from the other person.

I had a few companies ghost me and it was annoying.

I don't entirely mind if I apply and just never hear back, I just get to laugh at them when they email me two months later asking for interview.


I've heard this called the "California No," in both a personal and professional setting. Apparently it's extremely common in Hollywood and that's where the term came from. I've definitely noticed as I socialize in California that people avoid perceived confrontation more here, so maybe there's something to it. A new one I've noticed recently is what I call the "read receipt no," where someone will read a message, send a read receipt, then not reply to say no.

If someone does it to me I tend to lose some respect, but that's possibly because I'm an outsider. Maybe Californians expect that but I usually hope for the respect of a direct no. (Shrug.)


I've seen this as a strategy for H1B fraud, months after accepting applications everyone good is probably employed somewhere, so suddenly we've recently discovered there are no qualified local applicants for the job position H1B stamped approved.

If you want to make the HR person extremely angry then feign interest and you've ruined their whole H1B process. Its kinda funny to do. Sometimes they'll slam the phone down or sound like they're about to cry. If they're made of sterner stuff you'll get requirements like an in person interview at 4am or an interview within the hour in person (for a job 100 miles away).


Amazon does this all the time. I can't count on two hands the number of times I've seen them do this.


Lot of New York companies do this one.


Yep. That is where it was.


Insider Perspective: This can happen at big companies when they want a "lineup." They already know who they are going to hire, but for appearances, they will bring in 3 more people (usually two that are grossly under-qualified and one that is unaffordable). Then, after interviews, the pre-chosen candidate gets to shine as the ideal candidate. Inside recruiters are often masters at such setups, all created to have a paper trail of fairness in situations that are anything but fair.

It is terrible for the others in the lineup since they have 1. wasted a day 2. have hope for something where this is no hope 3. possibly hold off on other opportunities waiting for an opportunity that doesn't exist.


Especially with Taleo-based sites. It's either auto-rejection or black hole. Has Taleo been successful for anyone?


Taleo's particular talent is in interfering with applications to other companies that use Taleo. Suppose you use Taleo to submit to Oracle. Great! But when you use Taleo to submit to Cisco, you need to use a different address because email addresses for oracle.taleo.net and cisco.taleo.net are in the same namespace. There are a couple of online systems that make me reconsider applying, and Taleo definitely leads the pack.


Wait...you can only apply to one of their customers?


As near as I can tell, you can apply to only one with the same email address. The best dodge is to use use a gmail.com address with a plus-address. If your usual gmail account is rhizome@gmail.com, you can try rhizome+oracle@gmail.com and rhizome+cisco@gmail.com and both of these will land in your rhizome@gmail.com account, but I think there is still a problem when you reply to taleo.


You do need to reapply from a blank slate to each customer. Once I'm redirected to a Taleo site for applying, I immediately exit the job application and look elsewhere.


I've always wondered something: Does Taleo compare your resume across ALL of its sites? Like if you submit a resume for Company A, but you also sent one for Company B, and both use Taleo, does the software say "This applicant applied elsewhere and here's what they said that was different" ? I've never received a response from a Taleo system.


I have similar experience with Greenhouse's system.


I've used Greenhouse on the hiring end, and there's no 'extra' info about candidates. We only see what they submitted in their application.


One deserves a reply if one crafted a personalized cover letter, no matter how short. However the copy/paste guy shouldn't expect anything back.


I did an on-site almost two weeks ago and haven't heard anything :-/.


That is incredibly frustrating and unprofessional. You have GOT to get in touch with the recruiter/point of contact. Sometimes recruiters leave, or there is a bug in the system and you get dropped, whatever. Just try contacting them to know for sure what happened.


Contacting will probably not get him to know what happened. He will most likely get whatever standard bullshit excuse comes across the mind of his respondent at the time. Anyway, it might revive his application a bit or at least get him a final no.


I learned that it was was standard procedure to ping the company and ask about progress if you didn't hear back from them within a week. Is this no longer the case?

E.g. Hi X, Thanks for taking the time to interview me, blah blah blah, ... next steps?


I received an empty email once (an airline).


The worst is when you have to fill out countless repetitive and exhaustive applications for ONE job because they don't have enough a proper interface to indeed/LinkedIn/etc

I probably spent 7 hours on application paperwork for my current job. Complete with detailed personal history that had to be 100% accurate going back 10 years.

I had 3 other offers expire before I got my offer from my current employer. Then once I accepted it was another month before I knew if I passed the background checks. That wanted me to start a few days after I finally knew without giving proper notice to my current employer too!

Thankfully this only had one 3 hour casual interview and it was more a waiting game than endless hours poured into interviews for a job I might not get. I knew this would be a better choice than the other offers and I'm glad I did what I did.


I accepted an offer at a subcontractor at Gulfstream once. Crazy process, including them demanding I send all kinds of crazy info including SSN via email unencrypted.

Anyway, I spent several weeks asking them over and over when my start date was supposed to be, because eventually my soon-to-be employer's contract with GD was going to expire and I also wanted to give my current employer notice.

After a couple of months of this, I got fed up on a Friday and wrote an email telling them that I'm rescinding my offer and they went crazy and then kept calling me through the weekend and telling me I could start on Monday begging me to start...telling me I should just walk away from my current employer with no notice.

Walked away from that situation and never looked back. Glad I did it. My background check cost them nearly $500 and I imagine it hurt their relationship with General Dynamics. First clue should have been the fact their entire HR department was offshored.


The only thing that kept me going on this was excellent communication with both my new manager and HR. They guided me through the process and were very honest about where we stood and how I should answer ambiguous questions in the application. I was certain I would pass the background check but nonetheless it felt unnerving to let those other offers expire for something that was not really a sure thing.

Also some of the background checks can cost quite a bit more than $500. The preliminary ones are fast but the thorough federal one I'm undergoing now takes around 6 months.

I passed a similar one a few years ago which cost the employer more than 30k and took more than a year to compete.


What kind of background check costs $30k? Were they looking at past finances?


Six months and $30,000 sounds about right or maybe even a little low for a US secret clearance. There's a reason they're estimated to be worth about $10,000 a year. Insanely expensive and time consuming to get.

(OP has mentioned in another thread that this was not a secret clearance, but very similar.)


Probably a level 5 or 6 certification of public trust.


Top Secret clearance invesigations cost about $60k back around 2005ish when I was in the military. They might be a bit more expensive now.

Finances are, in fact, one of the things that are scrutinized very carefully. Susceptibility to bribes is a major indicator of security risk.


Federal check for secret/top secret or a state check for someone with access to certain public safety stuff. It's painful enough that many police agencies find it easier and cheaper to train cops.

They validate your references and ask references for other references. Takes a lot of time.


I'd guess it's more of a security clearance thing where, amongst other things, they send people out to interview your family/friends/employers/etc.


You are correct.


Hey guys, this guy has Secret Clearance!


(Even though this isn't OP's actual clearance level) you shouldn't be screaming out that a person has a certain level of US DoD security clearance (or DOE, DHS, etc).


We've got Dodgson here!


Nope ;) try again. It's similar but in a different silo.


Some DOE equivalent? Maybe silo was a subtle hint.


DHS and other intel agencies also have a secret equivalent that has reciprocity with the DoD.


Yea, but silo, silo, silo ;)


Level 5 or 6 certification of public trust?


Good for you! Seriously! Love hearing these stories so don't dv me... encouraging others to share.


Sounds like an opportunity to renegotiate your compensation.


Minus the dog learning to type at the end, sounds like my experience applying for jobs: submit application online to several places, get a "resume received" email, some automated email a few days later to get one's hopes up, and then get that denial email.

I don't want to hear some euphemistic email detailing how I was a very strong candidate but among a large qualified pool of applicants or how the team was impressed with my resume but unable to move forward at this time... just tell me I didn't get the job already and cut out all the flowery soup.


> ... just tell me I didn't get the job already and cut out all the flowery soup.

Amen to that. Recently I submitted five applications and four of them ended up as duds. What really annoys me is that I had to chase the recruiters to find out for myself that either the job is too senior or they forgot to take down the advert. The best one so far is when a recruiter claimed they never received my application when I got a confirmation email earlier.

Please guys, don't be lazy! Don't play games! Don't make me look desperate, geez.


After I've sent out an application I don't give it any more thought. I don't wonder if it's been read or if they'll ask for an interview or how long it will take them. I look for the next job to apply to.

As far as I am concerned, a rejection wastes both of our time. Unless they want an interview, why bother communicating any further?


Not when I was deeply interested in those jobs, and took my time tailoring the applications to them. I don't usually mass-send my CV, I prefer to shortlist jobs and focus on them. See, I would appreciate at least a note about the outcomes. But it's either no contact or it drags on for ages until they somehow realise that the position is no longer available. It's a bit unbelievable, and I'm starting to doubt myself.

These days too I notice that recruiters have become more mechanical and not very interested in finding out more about you as a person. It's like they forgot that they've got two clients, the organisation and the applicant.

Sigh. To be honest I've never had this experience before so it's a bit demoralising. But hey let's keep carrying on.


I would honestly question why you are spending a long time tailoring an application, or pinning hopes on any one application. I wouldn't say I mass send CVs - but I try not to spend over an hour because I don't see it as a good time investment.

Anyway I'm hardly an expert, but this attitude and process has helped me.


Why? Because there are two extremes here:

1) Selectively applying only for positions in companies where you truly care about the specifics of the role and the overall purpose of the company, because you want a specialised role and/or professional progression.

2) Indiscriminately applying for anything which vaguely seems like you might be able to do, even if it's not a good match and you care little about it.

I've not done a huge amount of interviewing, but last time I did so it was painfully obvious which categories the CVs fell into. All the (2) applicants were immediately rejected on the grounds of not meeting the required job criteria or were ranked much lower than the (1) candidates for not having relevant experience in the area or zero demonstrated interest in the area or specific position either on paper or in the interview.

You must tailor both the CV and cover letter to make a good impression. That's the careers advice I was given, and it's good advice. Not taking the time to do so makes it much more likely your application will be rejected outright, or be ranked below better applications. If your application doesn't demonstrate any clear interest or specific aptitude for the position, it's going to naturally make you appear less desirable than candidates with the same skills which do. The CV is selling you to the people reading it, and if no effort is made to market your skills and experience for the position on offer, then you're selling yourself short.

Last time I had to apply for a job, I spent a lot of time looking over job listings, and submitted four applications to four places, all tailored bar one. I got four interviews and three job offers. The hours spent tailoring each application paid off in terms of the response. And I got a job in a field I cared about, rather than something random. The one I didn't get an offer for was with Google, and that was mostly untailored because they weren't hiring for a specific role; I wouldn't have accepted an offer in any event, so no loss for that one!


Where are you finding these jobs? I am talking about the context of online job boards. The descriptions are often quite vague or written by someone non-technical. I have no idea if the place would be a good place to work at just by reading them. So I really don't feel it's worth a lot of time to do a lot of research.

I like my current job and I can't even remember what the job description said. Anyway maybe your technique works for your area and your skillset - but I'd fall flat on my face if I tried it here.


It was a combination of company websites and academic job boards. In my case, this was ARM, jobs.ac.uk and a couple of others. I ended up in an academic software developer position, doing scientific image processing.

In the past, I have trawled through sites like Monster, Reed and other big generic sites, and generally been unsatisfied. I've had my share of generic and fairly boring positions from this route. You essentially have to take the best of all the rubbish that's on offer in an area that's practical to be. You're right that the descriptions are rubbish and next to useless, and I think in most cases this route should be avoided if at all possible.

But if you decide up front exactly which field you really want to work in, and then proactively look for companies working in that area which are hiring, or might be hiring, you can get something you really want and raise the chances of being hired as well. Particularly if you proactively reach out to groups which you want to work with; several people on my current team got hired after working for groups in other organisations doing related stuff--just being known helps, and being known to be doing good stuff helps even more.


Sounds like you have more education in a specific field (image processing). You know the industry you want to be in and the kind of companies that have those positions. Similarly, those companies have strong ideas on the kind of people they want and you're a good match.

FWIW, 2/3 jobs I've found on job hunt boards have been pretty good. I'm much more interested in what the team are like and the environment than I am the specific problem domain.

You are probably right that networking is better though. I read somewhere that the time to start networking is not when you want a job - that comes across as being needy. I'm trying to do it more now, at a time where I'm comfortable in my role. I'm hoping it works both ways - I'll also find talented people I'll be able to recommend to employers or work with.


I have almost 10 years of experience and I've been looking for a job for the last year. I've sent applications to some companies, carefully selected and for which I'm 100% enthusiast about. I've sent custom cover letters, I've been studied the product and provided feedback and improvements. And still I don't deserve even an email saying that I've been rejected.

With some companies I was exchanging email, providing all the info, and then suddenly I never received any further reply.

I think that it's good for the company to filter out candidates, but something must change, as candidates we expect at least a rejection email, especially when your life depends on it.


You don't depend on them. They depend on you. Always remember that wherever you work: they are renting your time, you are always working to better yourself.

Keep staying positive and know there is an opportunity out there for you. Don't get discouraged!


IT workers are losing leverage in the US. Many have been offshored, and most remaining positions are being centralized to a handful of tech hubs in the country. It's good to not lose hope, but don't think as an IT worker, your have infinite leverage.


When there's an applicant pool of 100 people who can do your job just as well as you, they do not depend on solely on you.


I'm more and more convinced that being a cog in some corporate machine is coming to an end. We've collectively refined corporate processes to the point that it no longer requires human ingenuity or creativity. This has all happened under the guise of making things more efficient so that a stock ticker will be less volatile and will consistently move up and to the right. The candidate tracking software that this article parodies is one example of such an automated and "efficient" system. One gets the sense that the recruiters are almost secondary. Soon a "dog" will really be able to screen candidates for a job.

I don't think I'm saying anything new here. The mechanization of such work has been happening for a while now and the smart move is to start planning for that inevitability. Anything that requires basic pattern matching and procedures is pretty much gone. My retirement account I think is currently managed by a "robo advisor". Hiring humans to do such mechanical tasks will start getting more and more expensive relative to tweaking some parameters in some neural network coupled maybe with some domain specific policy/optimization framework.

Personally I don't think this is such a bad state of affairs. Why should societal optimization tasks be handled with heroic human effort when we can just do it with math?


While math can be used to optimize some function(s) (for "societal optimization"), math is silent about the question of what to optimize. There's no general agreement about that. (For example, should there be regulations to reduce river pollution?)


Sure but what do you trust more, a properly designed control system with various safeguards to allow for the right amount of river pollution, or politicians arguing about which of their buddies should get the rights to polluting that river the most?

In the future I imagine your question about the river pollution is almost nonsensical. That is if we manage to actually get there. Going by current news about the future of earth's ecology we might not actually make it much further. Gotta admit though heroic human optimizations seemed like they got us pretty far but the lag time in reacting to things is a bit too long when humans are in the loop. So the sooner they are out of that critical loop the better.

Speaking of which: http://www.sciencealert.com/photos-reveal-more-than-200-brig...


My example was one many human questions where "math" provides no objective answer, because not every question has an objective answer, particularly some questions of morality, fairness, or personal taste.

Some more examples:

* Is it okay to jaywalk with children across a busy street?

* Is it fair to give the bigger piece of chicken to the boy, rather than the girl, because "he's a boy"?

* Which is better-tasting, peaches or plums?

(I'm not arguing for moral relativism. There are some moral questions where everyone agrees on the answer.)


The best way to avoid the "black hole" is to not throw your resume into it in the first place.

Instead, use your professional networks and friends. Reach out to actual human beings. Find any way you can to bypass the bullshit online job application systems and HR departments.

When people (or programs) go through a stack of resumes, it's all about finding reasons to eliminate as many as possible as quickly as possible using the flimsiest of criteria. Of course it's going to create hard feelings but what should one expect when putting oneself into a giant horde of applicants?


So you're screwed if you didn't invest in contacts early in your career even if you have the needed experience and skills?

Having a good professional network is not something you can just "turn on" at will.


You would be surprised. With a few months of investment attending local meetups, you can meet a lot of people. If you take the extra step and, say, volunteer for speaking engagements, you can establish yourself as an authority in your area of expertise fairly quickly. You won't become a DHH overnight, but you'll still be miles ahead of those who still play the resume game.


What to do if you don't have resources to do that? (Example: me. No friends, negative net worth, zero income, no car, no bicycle, no bus money, most clothes have holes in them)


Get a job at a temp agency and start networking from within whatever shitty placement they give you. I literally started my career in a mail room working with developmentally disabled people and ex convicts. Now I'm a senior software engineer.


Getting involved in the community of open source software is a good strategy. If you can prove your technical chops along with being friendly and open to giving and receiving feedback you'll make good professional contacts.


Then you might have to shotgun your resume into online applications but don't be disappointed if you get hardly any response, even the best most qualified candidates get frustrated by doing that.


The tech meetup scene seriously sucks in a lot of places, especially if your expertise/interest lies somewhere other than web design/development/DevOps.


Almost everyone faces problems looking for work. In that sense we're all screwed.

But yeah, you MUST invest in building up professional contacts as soon as you start working, if you don't you're just making your career development intractably hard.

Of course it takes years to develop and requires maintenance. You gotta start somewhere, for folks in school that means finding an internship or even a work-study assignment. It could mean taking a less than hot-shit job.


You can fake a bit. Call someone in the company that's not in HR. When you apply, you refer to or CC that person. Now the HR employee sees that CC and thinks "If I ignore this application someone inside the company might ask about it". HR doesn't know that there's no real connection, but they know that they might have to justify​ your rejection and so now they're reading your application properly.


I've been so thoroughly broken by naming schemes like "Gravity" or "Flaming Biscuit" or whatever, that I've basically trained myself (at least here) to read things like "Black Hole" as a project name. Imagine my brief consternation when I thought, "Who in their right mind would name a resume hosting service 'Black Hole'?!"... then saw the source and felt incredibly stupid.

Beyond that, let me just add my voice to the multitude shouting, "Holy shit, yes, and it's terrible!"


I recently deleted an issue in redmine while meaning to delete a comment. It had a confirmation popup saying "do you really want to delete this issue?". I thought "sure, in Redmine they probably call comments issues."


In my experience in searching for a job, companies invite for 3 interviews and a coding test, then decide the position isn't clearly defined, so they restart the entire process and ask you to re-apply. Then you go through 3 more interviews and another coding test, and then one more interview, then you never hear from the company again. Since the whole process took 4-months, you are now broke and homeless.


I've literally never gotten a job by sending out resumes. Every single job I've had I got through some connection or another.

I actually refused to send my current job a resume. The conversation went like this:

Can you send them a resume?

No- here's my LinkedIn.

But can you send them a resume?

No- here's my LinkedIn.

OK, can you come in for an interview?

Interview.

A month passes.

Can you come in for another interview?

Interview.

Hired.


Counter point, I have gotten two job offers by just submitting resumes online. But I work in a state without tons of competing talent, so that could help.


What state if you don't mind me asking? I really want to just move out to the midwest or somewhere where there aren't a lot of programmers.


New England (not a state, but let's not get too specific here,) but off the beaten track. Small town with a big University. There are really only about four companies around here who could credibly offer me offer me a job doing something I want to do at a rate I want to do it for.

That's a double-edged sword. On one hand I have to be pretty careful not to burn bridges or hop jobs, cause if I want to stay around here I'll run out of both quickly. On the other hand established developers around here all know each other, pretty much, so the network effect is very, very strong.

And that even means easy intros to people who work remotely for interesting companies elsewhere (which seems to be more and more a thing.) Just in the last month I've met people, through my local network, who work for places like Trello, Circle, etc.

The Circle guy in particular- well, he came up to introduce himself after a talk I gave, and some of what he's doing for Circle is very much up my alley, so if I wanted a different job or a remote job (I don't at the moment) I might hit him up.


I live in RI and there are tons of jobs to fill with Navy engineering contractors. I just so happen to be a software engineer with an Ocean Engineering degree so it fits my mold better than most.


if you're a programmer, you can move anywhere in the midwest and get a job easy and the hours are chill too compared to east and west coast


This is the finest account of the resume/employer process I have ever laid eyes on.


For how ever many weeks you might wish to collect unemployment checks, you have to show that you're looking actively, in my jurisdiction. One might have a network of contacts but it's going to take some time for that network to lead to the kind of events that count as evidence that you're looking for work. On the other hand the black holes can lead to lots of events of that nature. So worst case, the black holes actually generate something (is Hawking radiation the right term?) that you can use to keep those checks coming.


You would not believe me how many applications I wrote. I know the black hole.

There are a few rules.

Never apply to a job that uses Taleo, SAP or any other "application" interface. A real job requires to send or upload a resume and an _OPTIONAL_ cover letter. Ignore everything else.

Never apply for a job that requires anything unusual (only non-smokers, hand written resume, time of birth for astrological evaluation, hard copy of application etc.). I am even skeptical about "motivational" letters. All these are signs that your future boss is nuts.

Be very open to create "sample" work, like a 10 page marketing plan or an "investment analysis of 5 companies". Just be very clear that this will be billed at your consulting rate too.

Remember the second most stupid people work in HR (with the most stupid people working in real estate). This does not mean the every HR person is an idiot - in fact I am sure there are brilliant people -, it is just a reflection of the entry requirements for these jobs.

I never really found a decent job after my PhD and I was desperate for years. The funny thing is: Now I get sometimes offered two jobs a day by just meeting people. I don't even engage in the conversation. They wouldn't be able to offer any salary that would make me even considering taking a job. And if I look at my former peer, never getting a job in the past may be the best thing that ever happened to me.


I don't get why referral is counted for so much especially when there are referral bonuses which would encourage employees to refer basically anybody they know.

With all these companies having massive HR departments, I also don't understand how a resume goes unread or un-responded to when it takes maybe 10 minutes max to go through a resume thoroughly.


You grossly over-estimate the time it takes to read a resume. It's way below 30 seconds per resume. Probably on average closer to 10.

Try it for yourself: set up a timer, open your resume. How quickly can you figure out how much experience you have, do the job titles match more or less the position, any description that lists similar stacks to the one your group uses? 10 seconds.


It takes 10 seconds to read a resume? So you just throw out the resume if you don't immediately see "similar stacks"?

I wrote "thoroughly" meaning reading the whole thing, and possibly looking at their links, or doing some small research about something on their resume.


I have actually had really good experiences as both a job seeker and a hiring manager with Hired. Their platform makes it easier to keep track of candidates and makes it less likely they will fall through the cracks.

My experience with hiring in the past is that startups that do it completely internally with no HR or recruiter support are likely to get overwhelmed and drop the ball. Recruiters drive the process along but they are motivated to put any ass in the seat and are not usually completely trustworthy from either the job seeker or the client side. A marketplace solution like Hired, Vettery, etc makes the process lot more transparent and has a rhythm that helps keep hiring managers on task.

Of course I'm a programmer and I'm in NYC and what works for me, here doesn't work for everybody, everywhere.


Have been toying around with an idea of recruitment and job application service which would try to turn the tables and show candidates who's interested in them. So instead of applying, the first step would be a question from candidate to company saying "tell me more about this job". The company would then need to actively get back to the candidate. The advantage to the company would be a much larger pool of candidate contacts, although they would also need to work those contacts more.

It might not be a solution for jobs and company types described in this thread, but in many industries, company types and countries the lack of candidates is a much bigger problem than too many candidates.


> the first step would be a question from candidate to company saying "tell me more about this job". The company would then need to actively get back to the candidate.

Such a service exists. It's called Retained Search, an old-school, high-touch, high-feel service reserved for executive level, mission-critical roles. It's also expensive, 25-33% of first year target compensation. Naturally, companies are incentivized to use cheaper approaches first.


I've had a recruiter writing me to thank me for my application, but unfortunately blah blah résumé blah blah position blah blah. The thing is I had never applied to anything at her company nor sent her a résumé, I had just asked her a question once. Which she had never answered...


That's why it's best to just directly contact a recruiter.


WTF I just read?


Humour (or humor in American English) is the tendency of particular cognitive experiences to provoke laughter and provide amusement. The term derives from the humoral medicine of the ancient Greeks, which taught that the balance of fluids in the human body, known as humours (Latin: humor, "body fluid"), controlled human health and emotion.


No way all this happens in a mere two months. It'd get dragged out for four, at least.


+1 for entrepreneurship


what a waste of my life reading that stupid page..


As a counter example, I got a great job from one of those black holes.


What makes it a black hole if you got a reply?


Black holes emit radiation from their edge, when incoming material is disintegrated.


The issue here is that it's very, very difficult to figure out if someone can code, at all, from a resume. You might have a masters in CS and still be hopeless when it comes to actually writing even very simple things. You'd be surprised at how often that is the case...

So, when I hire, I do so through through connections. I ask friends "Do you know anyone who can actually code who is looking for a job?"

And if it's just me, that's the end of it, but... let's say I'm hiring for a venture-backed firm, or for a department in a bank or something. In that case, I have a fiduciary duty to put a job ad out there, and I have to be able to show that I received a lot of resumes and "looked them over." By which I mean unceremoniously threw away. Who has the time to look over 1,000 resumes, most of which are complete bullshit?

I was going to hire my friend's friend anyway, but I had to solicit your resume along with many others to provide some cover. I threw your resume away without glancing past the education section (if you had gone to an Ivy I might have looked twice.) Capisce?


Sounds like you waste a lot of people's time to lie to higher-ups.


Yep- don't hate the player, hate the game. I'm legally obligated to do so in some cases. That's what fiduciary means.


You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.


Except that is what it means. The term is used mainly in certain contexts these days, so you might have gotten the impression that it only applies in those contexts, but 'fiduciary' has a broader meaning.

To quote from Wiki (I know): "[t]he distinguishing or overriding duty of a fiduciary is the obligation of undivided loyalty" and I'd argue that taking on capital imposes just such an obligation, such that trying to hire the people most likely to maximize your investors return is indeed a fiduciary duty, one that implies other duties.


No it's not. A fiduciary duty is not the same as a legal duty. Though they can overlap.


See above.


I once interviewed a candidate who claimed to have a PhD from a US university. He was applying to be an architect of DevOps. He didn't get through my interview and I only have my Bachelor since 2014.

As usual, the night before the interview I printed out his resume and the resume was about 5 pages long. I was not too happy about long resume, especially I spotted inconsistent formatting issue there. That's sloppy. Later my manager said this could have been a mod version from the talent recruitment agency. I got on the E train and I kept shaking my head during my whole ride. This resume looked suspiciously fake and bad. 90% of the technology this candidate claimed to have experience with show up in pretty much all of his prior roles. How can Cassandra appear in a role in 2003? Facebook wasn't even a thing. That was just of the several lies I caught immediately.

But I am a fair interviewer. I wanted to discount this resume and I wanted to see his real time performance. I always ask my candidate at least one system design problem because system design question usually can tell me the depth of knowledge the candidate has. I don't know my algorithms very well, but I know a lot about how to piece systems together. I know how to draw diagrams and show people my thoughts. I want people who can talk, especially in an architect role; I don't want just a code monkey. I like to spend more time with candidates even if my manager thinks we are done I usually request extra time so I can squeeze every bit of his/her knowledge.

So I asked him the same question I was asked to answer during my interview with our SVP. This candidate went speechless despite my multiple attempts to rephrase the questions and multiple hints. The question is as simple as given a SQL database and multiple data files (of some format which we don't care), we want to prevent duplicate record. This question is awesome because you can load the files in single-threaded program, in multi-threaded, or distributed. Design a system which can satisfy all three conditions are common (it's essentially evolution of a system - you start with the most basic single process single machine processing all files sequentially, and then perhaps going fully distributed like launching EMR or multiple worker nodes, or using S3 events and lambda function if we move the files to S3). If queue wasn't available, we can do checksum and lock file. Not perfect solution; we can trade time with integrity and accuracy.

Anyway, he failed the interview. I never bothered to check on his credentials but if he did graduate with a PhD, I am disappointed.

My 2 cents to all the juniors looking for job: please do not lie on your resume. Be concise and list what you actually know. If you did some C programming but you do not use C or no longer familiar with C, please do not put C on the resume. Rate your familiarity with tools, only list the ones you have good grip on. If you don't really know how to answer a question (e.g. do you know what content security policy is?) you can say "I don't know" and then ask the interview if he/she can give you a brief overview of what CSP is, and see if you can bring up related web security topics. But if you are just unsure or can't remember everything about CSP, start with "I don't quite remember, but I learned about CSP when I blah blah blah and I remember blah blah" that sort of response will get you somewhere, at least you are talking. Talk. Don't sit there and remain speechless.


You sure wasted a lot of time on an obviously unsuitable candidate.


And your point is?




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